Bill Walton dies at 71: Legendary commentator’s funniest moments – from eating cake with


The basketball world is in mourning after the passing of legendary commentator and player Bill Walton at the age of 71 following a battle with cancer

Walton was one of the greatest centers in the history of the game – and by far one of the best college basketball players overall in the sport’s history.

He won two NBA championships – one in 1977 with the Portland Trail Blazers and again in 1986 with the Boston Celtics. That came after winning three straight college national titles at UCLA.

But to a younger generation of fans, Walton is best known for his on-air personality and his antics when covering college basketball.

He’s best associated with the Pac-12 Conference – which played its final athletic competition yesterday before ten of the 12 schools will depart, essentially killing the league.

Tribute videos have poured in showing the highlights of the late commentator Bill Walton (L)

Tribute videos have poured in showing the highlights of the late commentator Bill Walton (L)

Walton, an NBA hall of fame center, died Monday at the age of 71 after a battle with cancer

Walton, an NBA hall of fame center, died Monday at the age of 71 after a battle with cancer

Walton’s bombastic, quirky, and larger than life persona was on full display nearly every time that he got behind the mic on radio or television. 

That he even got there was miraculous after he overcame a stuttering problem at the age of 28 with help from Hall of Fame sports broadcaster Marty Glickman.

After his retirement from playing, Walton worked for CBS, NBC, ESPN, and the Pac-12 Network as well as for multiple NBA teams.

In the aftermath of his death, multiple compilation videos showed some of the best of his broadcasts. 

Walton was known for his eccentricities – such has his love for the Grateful Dead and his affinity for tie-dye shirts.

He wore those shirts multiple times on broadcasts – and even took one off and went  bare chested live on air as he changed into another one.

Walton also made inferences to his use of drugs, once going off about the benefits of mushrooms and telling ex-White Sox broadcaster Jason Benetti that he’s not a good baseball catcher because he was ‘better at getting high than getting low’.

Walton once ate a cupcake live on camera - even eating a lit candle in the process

Walton once ate a cupcake live on camera – even eating a lit candle in the process

He also had a lighthearted side - seen feeding popcorn to the Oregon Ducks mascot

He also had a lighthearted side – seen feeding popcorn to the Oregon Ducks mascot

Walton (left) overcame a stutter to thrive on the microphone, winning a Sports Emmy in 1991

Walton (left) overcame a stutter to thrive on the microphone, winning a Sports Emmy in 1991

He also famously ate a cupcake while there was a lit candle in it – much to the shock of his longtime on-air partner Dave Pasch.

Pasch was also on the receiving end of many gifts from Walton – as seen in the videos – whether it be dirt from Temeculah, various plants, or chocolates thrown at him.

Walton even once dumped popcorn on Pasch’s head at the University of Oregon before feeding the snack to the costumed Oregon Ducks mascot.

Among the many tributes included one from NBA commissioner Adam Silver: ‘Bill Walton was truly one of a kind.

‘As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position. His unique all-around skills made him a dominant force at UCLA and led to an NBA regular-season and Finals MVP, two NBA championships and a spot on the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams. 

‘Bill then translated his infectious enthusiasm and love for the game to broadcasting, where he delivered insightful and colorful commentary which entertained generations of basketball fans.

Walton is survived by his wife Lori

He also has four sons Adam, Nate, Luke and Chris

Walton is survived by his wife Lori (above) and his four sons Adam, Nate, Luke and Chris

‘But what I will remember most about him was his zest for life. He was a regular presence at league events – always upbeat, smiling ear to ear and looking to share his wisdom and warmth. 

‘I treasured our close friendship, envied his boundless energy and admired the time he took with every person he encountered.

‘As a cherished member of the NBA family for 50 years, Bill will be deeply missed by all those who came to know and love him. 

‘My heartfelt condolences to Bill’s wife, Lori; his sons, Adam, Nate, Luke and Chris; and his many friends and colleagues.’





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